Sunday, August 17, 2008

When Toddlers Attack

OK, blog break is officially over. I am back. I had nothing nothing nothing for all of August, but now I find three or four posts cooking in my head so I can tell I'm ready to get back in the swing of things. Some of the blogs I read, when they've got writers' block or they're taking a break, they re-run some of their classic posts. Frankly, that seems a little presumptuous to me, and I would never do it. It's not like I'm Bill Cosby or someone and you can listen to my routines again and again. My readership is probably down to two, one of them being me, but whatever.

Honestly, the girls didn't do or say anything that funny or memorable in August. It was a slow month for them too. When they were good, they were very, very good, and when they were bad, they were horrid. Frankly, they got on my nerves a bit what with their requesting food and then not eating it; taking all my kitchen utensils outside and leaving them on the patio; and sitting in the bathtub with one end of my washcloth in each of their mouths, growling and pretending to be dogs. And I was just a big broken record of annoying mom-ness myself, saying, "Keep your hands to yourself." "Cut it out." "Try and act like ladies." "Keep to your own space."

This weekend I went out to buy school supplies for Lucy. Wow, apparently kindergartners go through a lot of glue sticks and Kleenex. I also bought her a new backpack. "I thought she had a backpack from last year," said Darren. "She did," I answered. "But a) that was last year--it's all ratty now and b) it was too big and had the school logo on it." "I thought it was supposed to have the school logo on it," he said. "Noooooo," I replied. "Apparently only clueless newbies like me thought that because most of the other kids had cool backpacks while we forced our child to be a school spirit dork." It's a wonder she made it through Pre-K 4 without a Kick Me sign on her back.

Anyway, I got her the cutest backpack at Target. It's black with red apples all over that have little Hello Kitty faces in them. Then there's a big Hello Kitty in the center with a rhinestone in her bow. And, attached to the zipper, is a Hello Kitty change purse. She went crazy over it.

Elaine has been feeling a little left out of all the kindergarten hoopla, so before I left Target I swung by the dollar spot where fortunately they were also selling Hello Kitty merchandise. I bought her a purple purse, an HK backpack clip, stickers, and a notebook. At home I whispered to Lucy that I had bought Elaine some special supplies too because she's been feeling bad that she's not going to kindergarten, so Lucy went through the appropriate enthusiastic motions as Elaine opened her stuff. She was thrilled too and carried around her Hello Kitty purse and accoutrements all morning.

Everything was great. I was downstairs in the kitchen, and the girls were upstairs. I started to hear some squabbling, but that's really nothing new. Then I heard a piercing scream. I ran up to investigate. "Elaine bit me!" Lucy shrieked. This is unusual. Borderline shocking. I know the most common toddler misbehaviors are hitting and biting, but both girls have really always been more in the hitting camp. Lucy bit a little bit before she was even two and had to wear a sign on her back in the church nursery that said, "Watch me; I like to nibble," but that was more because she was testing her teeth than from any malice.

"Where did she bite you?" I asked. "Right here," she sobbed and pointed to her flower-covered bottom. I gingerly pulled back her shorts, and sure enough, there was a bite mark on her sitter. Due to the severity of the crime, Elaine not only sat in the naughty chair, I took away her Hello Kitty purse. There was much screaming and wailing and gnashing of teeth, but I stood firm. She needed to sit there until she was ready to get down and tell Lucy she was sorry and would never bite again. "You help me say it," she wailed. "You are perfectly capable of uttering those words," I said firmly. I left the room so she could think it over. She finally did it. (I have no idea where she gets that stubborn streak from.)

Later in the kitchen, we talked about biting and how awful it is and how it could really hurt someone. I told them both about how a dog bit me when I was little. They wanted to hear all about that. Afterward, Lucy eventually went back upstairs, but Elaine stayed close by. "I sorry I bit Lucy, Mom," she said. "I get my Hello Kitty purse now?" "No," I answered. "You need to think about how wicked it was to bite someone. You could have seriously hurt your best sister. You can have your purse back tomorrow." She puckered her lip and started to cry again. "That doggie who bit me got punished too," I added. "He didn't get any treats or toys?" she asked. "No treats or toys for biters," I said.

She thought it over and stayed close to me while I worked in the kitchen. We went about our business together, side-by-side. Finally, she looked up at me with big, serious blue eyes and said softly, "Mama?"

I swept the hair away from her face and waited to hear her sweet, childish confidence. "Yes, Boo?" I said.

"I went pee-pee when I was in da naughty chair."



Ann-Marie said...

I'm in your readership, Captain!

She bit her on rear?! How did THAT happen? I mean, Lucy must not have seen it coming (cue theme from JAWS)

P.S. - Taget's $1 Stop is FULL of ultra cute Hello Kitty items. Don't ask me how I know this.

Juliet said...

Welcome back...I have missed you posting.

And oh the human heart of children...biting. I can just hear Elaine saying she was sorry...and then adding her ending comment.